french jews rally 298.
(photo credit: AP)
Across Europe, Jewish communities are opening their doors to the public on Tuesday to fight anti-Semitism.
In Paris, Kiev and Warsaw, international Jewish organizations will band together to represent the Jewish People as part of the European Council's "All Different, All Equal" campaign, which aims to fight intolerance in 42 European nations.
The participating cities will set up tents in the center of town for Jewish cultural events - interfaith dialogues, storytelling, Jewish rap and Klezmer concerts - aimed primarily at the local youth population.
"We are making a very strong case that anti-Semitism is alive and that we need to eradicate it ... It affects everyone: the people, the countries. [Anti-Semitism] is one component of a racist trend in Europe," Peleg Reshef, chief organizer for the project and director of the Future Generations Division for the World Jewish Congress told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
"The tent symbolizes the community ... there is a feeling, at times, that the Jewish community is closed or clustered," explained Reshef. "This is not a ghetto - this is a tent where we are under one roof, but we are opening it up to the outside."
The events in Warsaw and Paris will underscore the need for the major religions to understand and cooperate with the Jewish minority. In Warsaw, Polish Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich will hold an open dialogue with a Catholic clergyman, while in Paris, the Muslim-Jewish Friendship League will hold activities to promote understanding among students.
Noam Levy, the Paris coordinator, hoped his event would combat the stereotypes that anti-Semitism has created for the Jewish community of France: "[Jewish culture] is not something monolithic ... it is really composed of very diverse elements. It's a shame that it's been so simplified."
Reshef had originally planned an event in Berlin also, but the city refused to grant a satisfactory location for the event a week ago.
"It's also our fault, because we requested [the location] pretty late," Reshef admitted.
Though the Berlin municipality did approve a smaller, more remote locale in the end, Reshef refused.
"Jewish history has been a part of European history for ages and ages, and we want people to become more acquainted with it," explained Reshef of his decision to scrap the Berlin event altogether, as it would not have allowed for ideal visibility and communal accessibility.